Karen Hirschman, PhD, MSW, FGSA, is a the NewCourtland Term Chair in Health Transitions Research and a Research Associate Professor in Penn’s School of Nursing. Dr. Hirschman’s work focuses on improving healthcare transitions for older adults, especially those with cognitive impairments. She is a member of the Transitional Care Model team, led by Dr. Mary Naylor. This rigorously-tested advanced practice nurse-led model targets high-risk hospitalized older adults and focuses on improving outcomes and reducing hospital readmissions. Advanced practice nurses transition older adults from the hospital to other health care settings and home, engaging patients and their family caregivers and collaborating with clinicians throughout the transition. Multiple NIH-funded randomized controlled trials and comparative effectiveness studies have found the model effective in improving outcomes for hospitalized older adults and their family caregivers. The team now studies how service providers adapt the model to their environments and what components are most important to patients and families.
Dr. Hirschman has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and completed her Master’s in Social Work and PhD in Social Welfare at Penn’s School of Social Policy and Practice. She is a licensed social worker in the state of Pennsylvania. She completed her postdoctoral training in age related neurodegenerative diseases through the Penn Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR) before being recruited to the School of Nursing. She is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America.